Etna, Europe’s tallest active volcano dramatically erupted in March 2017, causing ‘phreatic explosions’, which occur when molten lava touches snow. These explosive reactions caused hot stones and steam to be sent into the air at speed, injuring several people with some needing to be evacuated by rescue teams.
Timely coverage of Etna’s eruption
Just before the event, with the eruption expected within hours, Airbus’ Pléiades constellation was tasked to retrieve high-resolution satellite images of the volcano on the day of the eruption; indeed, 50cm products are perfectly suitable to understand the extent of the area affected and perform an impact analysis. Tasked just one day before the eruption, Airbus’ OneNow option, specifically designed to respond to emergency needs, was identified as the most appropriate solution; The Pléiades satellite resource was booked for a high priority acquisition over the volcano on the 18th of March.
Shortly after acquisition, the acquired images were immediately delivered to the customer. On the images, the lava flow and smoke could be easily identified on the collected images providing the client with most suitable information to assess the situation on the ground.